On Sunday evening, Shebin Benson is at a movie hall, watching yet another film for the weekend. His own film Kaly, in which he plays one of the male leads, is running in another theatre. But Shebin is still very much a student of cinema. He has to learn a lot, the young actor says in an interview. “This is the first time I play a lead,” says Shebin, who debuted in the 2013 movie Idukki Gold as one of the five lads playing the younger selves of the five seniors in the film. Shebin had played Manianpilla Raju’s younger version and then got a few more movies like that. Now in his early 20s, he is ready to play individual characters.
“I think Kaly came to me because director Najeem Koya was at the preview of the film Idi, in which I played Jayasurya’s younger version. I am the first person he cast for Kaly, produced under the banner of August Cinemas, which has five young men in the lead. The story is led by my character and the character played by Shalu Rahim, who played Dulquer Salmaan’s younger version in Kammattipadam,” Shebin says.
The film is basically about how young men behave today, wearing branded clothes and masking their real selves to impress women. “And the bad effects of that. You can say it is a comedy entertainer thriller,” Shebin says. His character is also paired with a woman, played by Aishwarya Suresh, who became popular through her Dubsmash videos. “I get to dance too,” he says. “I am not much of a dancer but I got trained for this.”
Shebin is also expecting the release of another movie Paviyettante Madhurachooral where he plays an important role with actors Sreenivasan and Lena. Sreenivasan wrote the script of the film too but got unwell during the dubbing stage. Then there is one more film that will see him play a ‘younger version’ again, this time, of Indrajith in Mohanlal.
“But I think it’s time I make way for younger kids to play these roles,” he says, feeling all grown-up. In fact, he speaks quite maturely as he comments about the need for ‘hero-oriented’ films to make way for good films. “I mean, yes, Antony is the hero in Angamaly Diaries, but there are so many characters in it. It is time Malayalam cinema chooses good films over stardom. But perhaps I am too young to comment like that,” he adds.
Shebin’s previous release was Kaattu, where he plays Asif Ali’s friend. His younger brother Nebish is also in the same field and the brothers have together played different stages of a character in movies like Iyobinte Pusthakam. “Nebish is now playing Mammootty’s younger version in Parole,” Shebin says.